Science Experiment – Turbine

By AG Education | December 13, 2017

Discover the power behind hydroelectricity by creating your own water-powered turbine

About this experiment

In this experiment, you can create your own water ‘turbine’. In a power plant, the spinning motion of a turbine causes magnets to turn and start the process of creating electricity. In the case of hydroelectricity, the movement of the turbine comes from a strong flow of water.

Materials

  • Empty 2L bottle
  • Scissors*
  • Thumbtack
  • Pencil
  • 2 straws, cut into 3cm-long pieces
  • Strong sticky tape or electric tape
  • 4 pieces of string about 20cm long
  • A large jug filled with water

 *Safety warning: make sure you have a parent or teacher to assist.

Steps

  1. Cut the top off the bottle (about 5cm below the lid). If there are sharp edges after cutting you can put some tape over the rim.
  2. Using the thumbtack, poke six evenly spaced holes around the base of the bottle. Push the pencil through the holes to make them wider – this may take a bit of force!
  3. Push a straw piece through each hole so that about 1cm of the straw is inside the bottle. Secure the straws with tape.
  4. Using the thumbtack, poke three evenly-spaced holes at the top of the bottle and tie a piece of string through each hole. Each string should be about the same length.
  5. Tie all the strings to a fourth piece of string at the top.
  6. Making sure you are outside or in a bathtub, hold onto the top string and pour water into the bottle. Watch it spin as the water pours out of the straws!

Take note of how fast the bottle spins when it is full of water compared to when the water level drops lower. Does more water create more power/speed? You could also repeat the experiment using a taller or shorter bottle, or creating more/fewer straw holes in the bottom of the bottle and see what happens!